Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Mistress Firebrand by Donna Thorland

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Obtained from: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours/Netgalley
Read: April 6, 2015

British Occupied Manhattan, 1777. American actress Jennifer Leighton has been packing the John Street Theater with her witty comedies, but she longs to escape the provincial circuit for the glamour of the London stage. When the playwright General John Burgoyne visits the city, fresh from a recent success in the capitol, she seizes the opportunity to court his patronage. But her plan is foiled by British intelligence officer Severin Devere. Severin’s mission is to keep the pleasure-loving general focused on the war effort…and away from pretty young actresses. But the tables are turned when Severin himself can’t resist Jennifer Leighton... Months later, Jenny has abandoned her dreams of stage glory and begun writing seditious plays for the Rebels under the pen name “Cornelia,” ridiculing “Gentleman Johnny” Burgoyne and his army - and undermining the crown’s campaign to take Albany. By the time Severin meets up with Jenny once again, she is on a British hanging list, and Severin is ordered to find her - and deliver her to certain death. Soon, the two are launched on a desperate journey through the wilderness, toward a future shaped by the revolution—and their passion for each other...

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Political writer and propagandist Mercy Otis Warren,
on whom Thorland's Jennifer Leighton was based.
I've been eyeing Donna Thorland's Renegades of the Revolution series since the publication of The Turncoat, but fitting the books into my schedule has been something of a challenge. Till now that is. 

For the record, the books are written as standalones and weren't published in chronological order, so feel free to start where you will. I also encourage readers not to worry too much over the material. Thorland's writing is wonderfully detailed, but easy to follow and she never overwhelms the narrative with lecture style exposition. 

As far as the characters are concerned, I wasn't initially sold on Jennifer Leighton, but she grew on me and I became quite fond of her by the end of the novel. Severin Devere, on the other hand, proved an engaging rouge from the start. Frances enjoys a supporting role, but I loved the passion Thorland embedded in her character and words can't describe my enchantment with the enigmatic Angela Ferrers.

Historically, Thorland paints New York as a political battleground and I found her interpretation intensely interesting. The action is brisk and incredibly addictive, but the story itself highlights the struggles of those living in a city under occupation. Power shifts frequently and the growing unrest makes it difficult to discern friend from foe and I really liked how Thorland manipulated that principle to her advantage.

I admit it took me a few chapters to get into the book, but I once I did I found the novel almost impossible to put down. Dramatic, clever, entertaining and provocative, Mistress Firebrand isn't to be missed. 

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He had, in fact, been attracted to her. That had caused him to think of her first as a woman and second as an adversary, and that had been his great est mistake. She used her sex to her advantage, and had clearly learned all the ways in which a smaller, lighter opponent might turn the tables on a larger, stronger one. “It would seem that I have a weakness for dangerous women.”
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Check Out All the Stops on Donna Thorland's Mistress Firebrand Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, April 6
Excerpt at What Is That Book About
Excerpt & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages
Tuesday, April 7
Review & Giveaway at Flashlight Commentary
Wednesday, April 8
Interview at The Maiden’s Court
Thursday, April 9
Guest Post & Giveaway at Susan Heim on Writing
Friday, April 10
Spotlight at Broken Teepee
Sunday, April 12
Review at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book
Monday, April 13
Spotlight, Excerpt, & Giveaway at Passages to the Past
Thursday, April 16
Review at Caroline Wilson Writes
Friday, April 17
Spotlight at I’d So Rather Be Reading
Saturday, April 18
Excerpt & Giveaway at A Dream Within a Dream
Monday, April 20
Review at Book Nerd
Tuesday, April 21
Guest Post & Giveaway at Book Babe
Wednesday, April 22
Guest Post & Excerpt at The Lit Bitch
Thursday, April 23
Spotlight & Giveaway at So Many Precious Books, So Little Time
Friday, April 24
Review at Back Porchervations
Monday, April 27
Review at Just One More Chapter
Tuesday, April 28
Review at Historical Readings & Views
Wednesday, April 29
Review & Giveaway at Unshelfish
Guest Post at Boom Baby Reviews
Thursday, April 30
Review at Bookramblings
Friday, May 1
Review, Excerpt, & Giveaway at Drey’s Library
Spotlight at Genre Queen
Sunday, May 3
Review at Forever Ashley
Monday, May 4
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Guest Post & Giveaway at To Read, or Not to Read
Tuesday, May 5
Excerpt at CelticLady’s Reviews
Wednesday, May 6
Review at Unabridged Chick
Thursday, May 7
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation
Friday, May 8
Interview at Scandalous Woman

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